ROOKS, Albert

No.201936, Private, Albert ROOKS
Aged 24

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 3949, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Tuesday, 9th April 1918

Albert ROOKS was born in Kedington (Risbridge Q4-1893 4A:669), son Annie ROOKS (née INCE)

Annie INCE married Henry ROOKS in 1884 and they had 2 sons, William [1884] and Harry [1889], then Henry died in 1901. Annie ROOKS then had two more sons, Albert and Charles [1895], then married Frederick MAYES in 1896.

1901 census... Aged 7, he was at Calford Green, Sturmer Road, Kedington with his stepfather Frederick MAYS [35] farm labourer; his mother Annie [35]; brothers William [17] farm labourer, Harry [12] errand boy and Charles [6]; half brothers Arthur MAYS [2] and George MAYS [10 months]; half sister Linnie [4]. All were born in Kedington.

1911 census...Aged 17, a farm labourer, he was "near the well" Kedington End with his stepfather and mother; brother Charles (farm labourer) and MAYS half brothers Leonard (farm labourer), Arthur, Ridgold [8], Frederick [6], Carrie [4] and Harold [2]. The newcomers all born in Kedington.

He married May Mary SMITH in Q3-1916. Their son Albert was born 5 months after his fathers death (1918 S Quarter in RISBRIDGE Volume 04A Page 1179).

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds. "Soldiers Died" have him as formerly No.3949, Suffolk Regt, His medal index card says formerly No 5115 Suffolk Regt.

Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" has:
In April 1918 the 11th Suffolks (often referred to as the "Cambridgeshires") were at La Rolanderie with the 12th Suffolks nearby at Fluerbaix. On the 9th the Germans opened in intensive barrage south of the Lille railway but no attack developed along the 34th Division front. 101st Brigade ( of which 11th Suffolks were part) set off as Corps Reserves to the south of Bac St Maur. An hour later news came that the Germans had broken through the Portuguese front and were entering the 40th Division zone. With that, the 101st Brigade were ordered to cover the flank, but they found Bac St Maur occupied by the Germans and took up position facing west and south west near Fort Rompu and began fighting immediately. A strange occurrence, when the Corps Reserve were actually the first to engage the enemy. Terrific fighting followed and on the 10th the Suffolks formed a defensive flank, beating off attack after attack. Twice the Germans broke through and twice were thrown back. At 3:20 pm they were ordered to withdraw to behind the River Lys. The struggle continued until on the night of 17th/18th when they were relieved, moving back first into reserve trenches and three days later back to Boeschepe.
These battles of the Lys cost the battalion nearly 500 casualties, CWGC figures give 116 dead. 64 of these were on the 9th April.

photo: Rodney Gibson

Albert Rooks is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium, panel 3

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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